They call themselves “sovereign citizens.” They believe that the government has no authority over them. They often refuse to pay taxes and make their own license plates. They will create their own drivers licenses and currency. In general, they seem like a quirky but mostly harmless nuisance to society.
But the FBI says they are anything but harmless and thinks their oddball little rebellions can quickly escalate into violent confrontations when challenged.
The Las Vegas Metro Police confirmed the FBI’s belief this week when officers arrested David Allen Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, who allegedly planned to kidnap and even murder police officers.
The Las Vegas police ran a four-month investigation into the Sovereign Citizens’ activities. They now say that the pair plotted to randomly “snatch and grab” police officers who would then be subjected to “trials” for so-called “treason.” And if or when convicted, the officers would be executed by the pair.
The arrests were the result of undercover work by police officers who pretended to sympathize with the Sovereign Citizens cause. Brutsche and Newman put the officers through training sessions in which they were taught how the kidnappings would occur.
The pair planned to seek out lone officers at traffic stops. They would then order the officer not to use his or her radio, declaring, “Touch that radio and I’ll blow your head off!”
Brutsche told the undercover officers, “That’s the first thing you gotta say,” according to arrest reports.
The two suspects took undercover officers to a house they planned to use as a “jail” for kidnapped officers. They also filmed a traffic stop to gain information about officer procedures. Unbeknownst to the suspects, the traffic stop had been staged by the undercover investigators.
Brutsche has six felony convictions on his record and is a registered sex offender whose offense involved a child, so perhaps his animosity toward police would be predictable, regardless of his “Sovereign” ideology.